Pizza from Scratch, 105

15 October, 2007

Intelligence yes, wisdom no

© Bill Lemmond (Actually, you're welcome to download and share these web-resolution images, and you probably won't be happy with printing them.)

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There really is a difference between intelligence and wisdom. Intelligence will tell you what happens if you push the button. It takes wisdom to know if you should push it at all.

Don't believe there's a difference? Look at Wall Street. Try looking up Longterm Capital Mangement. They thought they had a formula that predicted all risk.

Look at banking in the U.S. Europe has 70 - even 100 - year mortgages, but our banks prefer forclosures, where everyone loses. They think their only choice is to lose less.

Look at Congress. Say, wasn't Barney Frank in charge of the banking committee during the run-up to that mess? Why is everyone criticized but him? He didn't have enough sense to know there was prostitution run out of his own D.C. home.

Look at the computer industry. Look at a laptop with a touch pad. Do you see little marks on it to show where the "tapping zones" are? No, there aren't any. Yet "tapping" is the default setting. And here comes somebody's mom or dad, new to computers, and tries to move the pointer.

"Darn, it's a long way across the screen. I'll have to pick my finger up and slide it some more to get all the way. What? I didn't want to open that! What's happening now?"

Tapping might be okay for some people, but it's a poor choice for a default setting. And they hide the way to turn it off.

And some laptops have a little red button between the G, Band H keys. It's a very nice pointing device. But there's a default setting lying in wait. One day you're typing a document, and you accidentally bump that little red button at the same time you press G, B or H. Some genius thought "Wouldn't it be neat if we linked a feature to this combination?" Oh, right, as though it will never be accidentally triggered. And they hide the way to turn this one off, too.

D20 system role-playing isn't the only place that intelligence and wisdom aren't joined at the hip. It seems to me that extreme right-wingers think they can substitute wisdom for intelligence. And it seems extreme left-wingers think they can substitute intelligence for wisdom. The trouble is, it takes way more of one to make up for the other than most people ever have. And they're generally the last ones to know they're on thin ice.